You’ve heard us say time and again that “patients are your greatest marketing asset,” but how does that translate into practical applications? One of the most important ways is through writing reviews.
The importance of positive patient reviews in dental marketing can’t be overstated. More and more people are turning to Google, Facebook and Healthgrades to find the best-rated businesses in their area, and reviews play a large part in who they ultimately decide to call.
However, if you go to Google Maps and search for dentists in your area, chances are you’ll find relatively few that are making the effort to regularly obtain reviews from patients. And that can be dangerous for a business’ online presence — if you’re not actively asking for reviews, customers will only tend to leave one when they’re dissatisfied!
Being proactive about obtaining patient reviews on Google, Facebook and Healthgrades builds powerful, credible word-of-mouth marketing and sets you apart from your local competition. According to a study by BrightLocal:
- 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73 percent say they think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
- 7 out of 10 consumers say they will leave a review for a business if asked
What does this mean for your social media marketing efforts? Now more than ever, your dental practice needs recent, positive reviews — and lots of them. But also, the majority of your patients would be willing to write you a review if asked in the right way.
5 Tips to Make Asking for Dental Reviews a Snap
Make growing your practice with reviews a team effort. Devote team meeting time to helping each member understand the direct impact reviews have on your business. Knowing that you’ve provided a great treatment experience, you can confidently and comfortably invite your patients to become advocates for your practice by leaving a review. Follow these guidelines:
- DON’T ask every patient for a review! In your team huddle each morning, pull up the schedule and see who is coming in. Identify one or two of your patients who love your practice and you suspect would be happy to leave you a review.
- Train your whole team, but make specific assignments. Don’t set your team up to fail by saying “OK everyone, we need to get out there today and ask for lots of reviews!” Instead, decide together who will be asking for reviews that day and have them report on how it goes. You know which team members have the closest relationships with each patient. Set them up for success!
- Set a goal and frame your request for reviews around it. Instead of asking for a review, ask your patients for “help in reaching your practice’s reviews goal.” Context matters! Just this small change makes it easier for team members to bring it up. Let patients know that you value their feedback and that this will help you serve them better.
- Offer an incentive — not to patients, but to your team. We’ve found in hundreds of cases that patients don’t need a reward to give a review. Offering an incentive to your team members, however, will help them remember to fit asking for reviews in with all the other things they have to do. Consider giving out individual prizes per review and team rewards as your practice reaches reviews milestones!
- Launch an official reviews campaign. Instead of just mentioning off-hand to your team that you’re looking to get more reviews, create an environment for success by making it a full practice initiative! Schedule team meeting time specifically for talking about reviews progress and brainstorming ideas. Announce your reviews goal in your practice with posters, cards, buttons, and handouts. You know how much reviews can make your practice better — so make it a big deal!
Gather Reviews And Grow Your Practice
A consistent flow of positive online reviews (especially on Google) will do more to grow your practice’s reputation and visibility than virtually anything else. It improves your search ranking, establishes initial trust with prospective patients, and sets you apart from your local competition.
And of course, the feedback will help you know what patients appreciate about you, and what you could change. Even handling the occasional negative review can be a great opportunity to strengthen relationships and improve your practice.